President Donald Trump is not waiting for a trial to sort out what happened on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where prosecutors say a 17-year-old with a semi-automatic rifle fatally shot two men on a night of protest and violence. He’s giving an account at odds with the authorities who charged Kyle Rittenhouse with homicide.
WHAT TRUMP SAID:
TRUMP, asked if was going to condemn the actions of vigilantes like Rittenhouse: “We’re looking at all of it. And that was an interesting situation. You saw the same tape as I saw. And he was trying to get away from them, I guess; it looks like. And he fell, and then they very violently attacked him. And it was something that we’re looking at right now and it’s under investigation. But I guess he was in very big trouble. He would have been — I —he probably would have been killed.” — news conference Monday before traveling to Kenosha on Tuesday.
THE FACTS: His implication that Rittenhouse only shot the men after he tripped and they attacked him is wrong. The first fatal shooting happened before Rittenhouse ran away and fell.
Trump did not say whom he meant by “they” — the two men he shot or others in pursuit of him. But he spoke in defense of a vigilante who opposed racial-justice protesters, who authorities say was illegally carrying a semi-automatic rifle and who prosecutors accuse of committing intentional homicide.
According to the criminal complaint released by prosecutors, victim Joseph Rosenbaum was shot and killed first, after following Rittenhouse into a parking lot, where Rosenbaum threw a plastic bag at the gunman and tried to take the weapon from him.
The medical examiner found that Rosenbaum was shot in the groin and back — which fractured his pelvis and perforated his right lung and liver — and his left hand. He also suffered a superficial wound to his left thigh and a graze wound to his forehead.
Rittenhouse then ran down the street and was chased by several people trying to stop him and shouting that he just shot someone, according to the criminal complaint and cellphone video footage.
He tripped and fell. Anthony Huber, who was carrying a skateboard, was shot in the chest after apparently trying to wrest the gun from Rittenhouse, the complaint said. A third man was shot and injured.
Rittenhouse’s lawyer said he acted to defend himself.
Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin.